The Best Plants For Rocky Soil – Learn To Grow Exceptionally Hardy Plants And Trees

Have you ever wondered what are the Best Plants for Rocky Soil? Most of us are aware that gardening can be frustrating since some plants give up when their root systems are forced to deal with too many rocks. However, if the dirt in your yard is less than ideal, there are several other vegetation options that have the ability to thrive in this instance.

Amongst them are low-growing evergreen ground covers that do exceptionally well in these types of soil. There are also many other suitable options that are hardy and can withstand dryness. These include annual and perennial cultivars that will enliven your rocky landscape if given the proper care. Soil fill or topsoil is introduced to create a future lawn when new residences are erected.

However, this fill layer is typically placed at a depth of about four inches, which is plenty for lawn grasses to grow in. This implies that you will run into the rocky subsoil that lurks beneath the lush green garden when you want to expand the variety of plants. Below, you will find information on how to overcome this problem by introducing plants that can endure the rocks.

Plants That Grow Well In Rocky Soil

If the soil in your gardening area is rocky, you have a few options that you could go for to have a thriving landscape. You can choose the best plants for rocky soil as they will grow well or you can opt to till and amend the dirt to suit the plants you prefer. The former is a good option as you wouldn’t believe the number of eye-catching evergreens that actually prefer a growing medium that includes rocks.

However, if you envision a specific type of landscape with a selection of plants, then the second option would suit your best. But, I must warn you, that this calls for a significant amount of elbow grease. You could also build raised beds or go with a container garden. If you decide to make do with the rocky soil, you need to be certain that the plants you select will be able to grow well.

The majority of succulent and cactus species will typically thrive in this environment. Although some cultivars are more effective than others, there are also shrubs, trees, flowers, and herbs that are hardy enough to reach their full potential when planted in rock-filled soil.

Aloe vera and the plant genus Ranunculuacaea, which includes variations that produce colorful flowers, thrive in damp rocky soil. Baby’s breath and wildflowers like black-eyed Susans are attractive blooms that prefer to grow in this medium. The options to plant in this type of environment are plenty if you have knowledge of the plants that grow well in it. Here’s a video with information about growing a garden in rocky soil. 

Plants that Grow in Gravel Soil

There are a variety of plants that grow exceptionally well in gavel soil. Gravel gardens are low-maintenance and use a lot less water than typical gardens due to their well-drained environments. It’s crucial to select drought-tolerant plants in this instance, given their growing requirements.

If you live in a sunny location, you’ll be able to cultivate Mediterranean plants that enjoy the light and do well in arid climates. However, you should also carefully consider the stone’s color and size. This is because self-binding gravels are made up of different-sized stones, making them perfect for achieving a natural appearance. When it comes to plants that grow in them, the diverse euphorbia species are a suitable option for these types of landscapes because they are all exceptionally drought-tolerant.

This plant species excel at adding bursts of color with its aromatic blooms. A wonderful, pollinator-friendly addition to gravel gardens is also catmint as it is a great option for path edges. They offer a vibrant contrast with other plants and their blossoms are adored by bees and butterflies. In addition to architectural interest in gravel gardens, they also produce lovely seedheads in the winter, which adds visual appeal.

Best Trees for Rocky Soil

So, aside from the plants for rocky soil, what types of trees are tolerant of this environment? Well, you would be glad to know that most trees are exceptionally hardy so you can choose to grow a variety of them in your rock garden. However, to do this, you would need heavy-duty tools and some laborious labor to be successful.

 best plants for rocky soil

Here Are A Few Suggestions And Tips About Trees And Rocky Soil:

1. Creating a planting mound can improve the likelihood that your tree will flourish. This is because it gives the tree more room for the development of its roots, especially when it is still young and fragile.

2. With a maximum height of 20 feet, pinyon pines are drought-tolerant trees that are smaller than others in the species. They are known to flourish in the southwestern parts of the US which has dry, steep regions with rocky soil. Keep in mind that although they have a long lifespan, they are slow growing.

3. The eastern red cedar is a type of tree that thrives in rocky terrain and prefers poor soil. In a young tree, the bark is reddish-brown, and as it becomes older, it progressively turns gray. There is also a seasonal shift in leaf color which includes different shades of green. Given that it provides food for a variety of butterflies, birds, and other animals, it is a useful tree to plant in support of wildlife.

4. Quaking aspens are rocky-soil-tolerant deciduous trees. They often reach heights of about 80 feet and have long lifespans. They are a great addition to any garden and display a seasonal range of leaf colors which include green, orange, gold, and yellow.

5. Fruit trees that you could plant in a rocky area with confidence are cherry trees. To give a good crop of fruit, they require chilly winters. Their only demand to thrive is well-drained soil because soil that is waterlogged may cause their roots to decay.

6. Citrus trees may be a good option for the rocky ground because of their shallow root system. However, they certainly require a lot of water in order to produce fruit! So, if you decide to grow lemon, orange, grapefruit, or tangerine trees, rocky soil and adequate moisture would work side by side to ensure an abundant yield.

 plants that grow in gravel soil

Plants that Grow on Rocks and Stones

There are many plants that grow on rocks and stones with no hassle at all. We now know that these include citrus plants and various other fruit trees because of their shallow root systems.

Although this is true, it is also important to choose a climatically appropriate, shallow-rooted species if you want a thriving garden. Additionally, it’s crucial to provide enough water because certain garden plants may handle rocky soil but may require more water to make up moisture demands.

Here are a few common plants that grow well on rocks and stones:

Candytuft – This plant serves as a magnificent ground cover in rocky areas. It is known as an annual or perennial that has pale blossoms to beautify your yard. Keep in mind that this glorious plant is an early bloomer that thrives in direct sunlight.
Summer Wine – This evergreen shrub does well in stone soils. It is distinguished by its dense, free-branching, mounded growth habit and its deeply cut, wine-red foliage.
Ferns – Native to Missouri, the Christmas fern grows on moist and dry slopes, banks, and ravines. Although it doesn’t bloom and requires a good amount of shade, it develops into a fountain-like clump of evergreen fronds that are quite enchanting.
Butterfly Weed – When it comes to this plant, you would be glad to know that once established, it is a highly resilient plant. In addition to being striking, butterflies and other wildlife find the vivid blossoms attractive.
Purple Coneflower – This plant is native to the rocky regions of Missouri. It is noted for its enormous purple flowers and coppery center cones. Birds like goldfinches frequently visit flower heads to feast on the seeds.

 plants that grow on rocks and stones


When it comes to planting trees or other plants in your yard, one of the most important things to consider is the soil. This is because while some plants thrive in smooth sandy growing mediums, others prefer stony environments.

The fact that this growing medium typically has good drainage is one of its benefits. As mentioned in the information above, plants with shallow roots and tolerance for drought do well in these environments. However, trees are incredibly robust, and even those with deeper root systems are able to flourish in this soil type. In order to locate water and nutrients, the roots tunnel between the rocks.

Oak trees typically have extensive root systems, making them unsuitable for rocky terrain. But, the blue oak, Oregon oak, and leather oak trees are well known for flourishing in stone soil. It is also known to be a good environment for rocky mountain maple trees. However, to anchor the tree, there must be adequate room for its roots to spread out between the rocks. If you want to learn about soil amendment basics, then click here